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One in three of the UK’s homeowners aged 55 or over would like to downsize but can’t due to a lack of suitable properties on the market, creating “Generation Stuck”, according to a report written by the International Longevity Centre and commissioned by McCarthy & Stone.
The report, Generation Stuck: Exploring the reality of downsizing in later life, reveals through the results of a YouGov survey that 33% of UK home owners aged 55 and over are considering or expect to move to a smaller property, with 48% in total considering downsizing or having made the move to a more suitable home. The report, which examines older people’s attitudes towards moving and the “pros and cons” of downsizing, found that a “substantial number” of over 55s want to move but cannot due to a lack of choice in the marketplace.
The YouGov survey for the report also found that 29% of the 1,252 respondents who have downsized or are considering or expecting to, had or expect to release more than £100,000 of equity, highlighting the financial value of downsizing.
The report also details how these homeowners used, or plan to use, such equity. The most common response was to put it into a savings account (35%), using it to enhance their day-to-day life (30%) and giving it to family members (19%) – or putting it towards a pension for those aged 55-59 (34%). In contrast, for these homeowners aged 55 or over, equity release is much less frequently used for big purchases (14%) or to reduce debt (10%).
The report makes three recommendations to aid the “Generation Stuck” problem:
Clive Fenton, McCarthy & Stone CEO, said:
“Housing and planning policy should not just be about Starter Homes – millions of older people want to downsize to more suitable housing but there is currently little incentive or choice for them to move. As a result, housing chains are blocked at the top of the ladder. This report is calling for more attention on the housing needs of older people, particularly as 60% of all household growth over the next 20 years will be by those in later life.”
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